Anhedonist: Netherwards

This is a week which has treated Death/doom metal fans to a depth and richness of quality that has been absent within the genre over recent times. There have been two albums unleashing their dark expansive compulsive consumptions to excite and inspire far beyond any other releases from like minded bands that have fed upon our shadows. Firstly there is the stunning debut from Australians Inverloch in the shape of Dusk I Subside, a release that marks a new deep vein of power and ingenuity for the genre and now we have the excellent Netherwards from US band Anhedonist which equally sets down a distinct and remarkable marker within the genre.

Released via Dark Descent Records, Netherwards is a ravenous lumbering and contagious pit borne nightmare that feasts with a thick expanse upon every shadow and darkened thought inspired from its recipients. Four tracks prowling over forty minutes leave the listener gasping for air and grasping for light as weighty thunderous riffs and venomous spite coated melodies extinguish every spark of hope and joy. It is a haunting release that leaves depression soaked paws on each of the senses, a lingering unavoidable mesmeric dark entity that coaxes forth things that one had consigned to the shut off corners of the mind.

The opening Saturnine emerges through an ambience of cold stark atmosphere and emotion, its slowly dawning breath ominous, intimidating and reeking of a dark presence. It is wonderful and the perfect lead in to the flesh whipping groove that follows, the guitars predatory and taunting whilst guttural aural bile disguised as words pierce and consume the heart. Where there was at times a kind of warmth to the Inverloch release, Anhedonist only leave cold ice behind their down tuned crawl through emotions and senses. Flexing into a heavier and pacier might at times the track tunnels deeper whilst the intensity shifts into new heavier and crushing positions. The irresistible unrelenting essence the quartet devours with from the first chord of the EP to the last departing note of the final violation, is sheer malignant poetry.

Estrangement is an even more haunting piece of soundscape, its subterranean cavernous expanse ringing with schizophrenic echoes and malignant disorder to which one is sucked in deeper and deeper note by note. Beneath this mass of tumultuous turmoil on the song, and throughout the release, there is a distinct variety and creative diversity in sound, atmosphere and intent which is openly laid out to feast upon as they themselves absorb and ravish the senses slowly and deliberately. It is masterful and an experience that needs to be given time, attention, and full submission.

The remaining tracks Carne Liberatus and Inherent Opprobrium continue the intense experience and overwhelming oppression. The first is an even more aggressively virulent contagion, its muscles, riffs, and groove rippling with violent intent and evil craft whilst the closing fifteen epic of Inherent Opprobrium strips the listener to their rawest state before lifting them up with caustic manipulations and acidic melodies. It is the perfect ending to the release and experience, the beast leaving its listener a deeply contented and wasted carcass.

The chances of Anhedonist and Netherwards finding an audience outside of death and doom metal is slim but for fans of these genres this is a release to inspire and enflame any heart.

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Inverloch: Dusk l Subside

Sure to excite death/doom metal fans, especially those clamouring for and longing to see the return of Australian band diSEMBOWELMENT, the three track release from Inverloch is a formidable and mighty release.  Containing two members of that legendary band in guitarist Matthew Skarajew and drummer Paul Mazziotta, the Melbourne quintet open up their account with their debut EP Dusk l Subside, a release of over twenty minutes in length of daunting and challenging atmospheric darkness and consuming doom laden death metal invention. Merging haunting and deeply effecting ambience with giant reverb drenched guitar melodies to overall intense blackened dirge tombs of sound; the EP ignites the senses as equally as they leave them wasted.

From the opening track Within Frozen Beauty the release immerses one within its deep and immense mass.  The song slowly seeps and creeps upon the senses with a chilled ambience that grows and expands, its melodic grace wonderfully caressing through the ear as a darkened essence grumbles behind.  The song erupts into a prowling come lumbering entity that crawls all over the feelings with pummelling riffs and even more impactful pit borne dirge fuelled vocals. Lurching from slow to a more enthused pace with scorched guitar melodies and intertwined play the song is an impressive and masterful piece of composing and its realisation. Ending on a stark desolate ambience the track leaves one with thoughts and emotions ignited.

    The Menin Road is a malevolent consumption of the body, the down tuned dirge so heavy and cold it makes funereal sounds seem party like. The track oozes evil, acrid intent dripping off every word from the bile spewed vocals. The track is a leviathan of shadows and deeper blackness, its provocative and deep probing malice led venomous fingers an intrusion that leaves one cold and fearful wonderfully. The piece links the opener to the closing Shadows Of The Flame, both songs bookending it with inspired and blackened progressive craft and spite. The third of the three combines the more dare one say vibrant essence of Within Frozen Beauty and the minimalist doomed breath of The Menin Road. It is the perfect closer to the release like an inescapable closure for light and life.

Dusk l Subside out via Relapse Records is an epic beast of a release even in its relatively short form and will send doom and death metal enthusiasts into raptures. With still ever present hopes from their fans that diSEMBOWELMENT will return again, Inverloch are more than an impressive and satisfying alternative and in many ways a band one can see surpassing even the legends before them.

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